Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Questions and answers about:


Further information on online registration and registration in general is available on the Elections Canada Main website (link opens in a new window).


Using a public computer

What should I do to protect my personal information?

Clear your cache after online transactions to make sure personal information isn't stored on your computer. Here are examples of how to do this:

  • In Firefox, go to Tools > Clear Recent History
  • In Internet Explorer, Go to Tools > Delete Browsing History
  • In Chrome, go to the wrench icon in the top right hand corner. Under the Bonnet > Clear Browsing Data
  • In Safari, go to Safari > Empty Cache > Empty

Back to top

Forms

I can't print the registration form. What should I do?

The registration form provided on the results page is in PDF (Portable Document Format). This is a file format that allows you to read, print or download a document while keeping the fonts, graphics and general format of the original work.

To view and print the PDF registration form, install the free Adobe Reader program (link opens in a new window). If that does not work, install an older version of Adobe Reader (link opens in a new window).

Once you've installed Adobe Reader, click on the PDF file to open it, then click on the printer icon to print it.

If this does not solve your printing problem, please contact us at 1-800-463-6868 or by e-mail at info@elections.ca. We'll mail or fax the appropriate form for you to complete and send back to us.

I was not offered the option of using a form. What should I do?

If there is a federal election or a by-election happening in your electoral district, you can register to vote by contacting your local Elections Canada office. If you must go in person, remember to bring acceptable proof of identity and address (link opens in a new window) with you. You can find your local office through the Voter Information Service (link opens in a new window). If you need help, contact Elections Canada Headquarters at 1-800-463-6868.

Back to top

Your results

I'm having trouble using the online voter registration service. What should I do?

Here are a few possible reasons:

You moved recently:

If you are registered but have moved recently, the online service may not recognize your new address. The results screen will show this message: "Double-check your address". Follow these steps to update your address:

  1. Click on "go back to the Enter information screen" and enter your old address. If the service finds you, it will say you are registered and give you this message: "Need to update your address?"
  2. Click on "Update your home or mailing address here" to enter your new address.

You need to re-enter your address:

It's possible that you made a typing mistake or entered information in the wrong field (for example, unit instead of suffix). The results screen will show this message: "Double-check your address". You can click on "go back to the Enter information screen" to review and resubmit your information.

Address type:

When you use the online service to check (confirm) that you are registered to vote, you can select from the following address formats:

  1. Civic or street address (for example, 123 Main Street),
  2. Lot and concession,
  3. Section-Township-Range-Meridian,
  4. I have a different address type - a non-standard address where this is no street number and/or street name (note: the online service will only confirm your registration at this address type if you enter the exact address information we have on file).

When you register yourself or change your address online, the option “I have a different address type“ does not exist.

You have never registered before:

If you've never registered yourself in a federal election before, the online service results screen will show the message "You can complete your registration online now" OR "Upload your identification documents to register".

You changed your name:

If you've recently changed your name (e.g. after getting married), the service may not recognize your new one. You can't update your name online. To find out what to do, please read the next point "If you cannot register or make updates online".

If you cannot register or make updates online:

If you are having trouble registering yourself online or you need to make an update that cannot be completed online:

  • Outside a general election – You can make a request by mail. Contact us to request a registration or update form. We'll send the form by mail, e-mail or fax. Complete the form, sign it and return it by mail, along with a copy of your proof of identity and address.
  • After an election is called – You can register or make an update in person at your local Elections Canada office or at your polling place when you go to vote. Find out where and when to vote (link opens in a new window) and what ID to bring.

I submitted my address correction or registration request online. Will you send further confirmation that my request has been accepted?

If you'd like to check if your update has been accepted, you can revisit the Online Voter Registration Service at a later date and check if you are registered at the correct address.

If you made a registration request using the online identification document submission feature, you were given a registration request reference number in your result message. If you shared your email address, you also received an email with the same reference number.

If your registration request has been rejected and you shared your email address with us, we will send you an email explaining why we did not accept your request and asking you to submit your request again.

If you have not received an email from us and you want to check if your request has been accepted, please visit the Online Voter Registration Service at a later date. Select the link Check the status of your request and enter the registration request reference number you were given when you submitted your request.

Back to top

Driver’s licence

Why do you ask for my driver's licence number or provincial/territorial ID card number?

We use your driver's licence number or provincial/territorial ID card number to ensure that we update the record for the correct person on the National Register of Electors with the data you entered. Elections law allows Elections Canada to collect the following provincial and territorial data:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • driver's licence number
  • provincial/territorial ID card number

What if I don't have a driver's licence or provincial/territorial ID card?

Most people won't require a driver's licence or provincial/territorial ID card to use this site. If your request requires a card that you do not have, there are other ways to register:

  • Online: Use the online document submission feature of the Online Voter Registration Service (link opens in a new window) to upload other accepted identity documents.
  • By mail: Contact us to request a registration form. Please complete the form, sign it and return it to us by mail. You will need to include a copy of your proof of identity and address.
  • Your local Elections Canada office: If there's a federal election or by-election underway in your electoral district, you can register by contacting your local Elections Canada office. If you go there in person, remember to bring acceptable proof of identity and address. You can find your local office through the Voter Information Service (link opens in a new window).

There are many different documents you can choose to submit to prove your identity and address. See the full list here. If you need assistance, contact Elections Canada Headquarters at 1-800-463-6868.

Why don't you accept all driver's licences or provincial/territorial ID cards?

Due to information sharing agreements, the online voter registration service has access to:

  • driver's licence data from all provinces and territories except Quebec
  • provincial/territorial ID card data from Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Yukon.

How do you keep my driver's licence and provincial/territorial ID card information safe?

Driver's licence and provincial/territorial ID card numbers are encrypted before being transmitted electronically, keeping the number confidential. Also, physical safeguards and firewalls protect the servers where the data is stored.

If I update my voter registration address here, must I also contact the drivers' bureau to update my address with them? Will the change be made automatically?

You must contact your drivers' licence bureau directly to update your address with them. Elections Canada does not provide any data to drivers' licence bureaus.

Back to top

Information sharing

Does Elections Canada share my information?

Elections Canada provides voter registration information to all provincial and territorial elections agencies. The information shared includes:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • gender

Sharing voter registration information improves the accuracy of lists of electors and reduces costs. This information is shared in accordance with the Canada Elections Act and provincial and territorial laws.

Back to top

Vote by mail

I've submitted my application. What happens now?

We will review your application as soon as possible; this process can take up to 72 hours from the time we receive your application.

To check the status of your application:

Electors who applied to vote by mail from within their home riding:

Electors who applied to vote by mail from outside of their home riding, or from abroad:

  • To check the status of your application, please call: 1-800-463-6868.

If your application is approved, a special ballot voting kit will be mailed to the address you provided.

Your voting kit will include:

  • a special ballot
  • an outer envelope and an inner envelope
  • a return envelope with prepaid postage
  • instructions on how to mark the special ballot and return it to Elections Canada

Please call your local Elections Canada office immediately if any of these items are missing or the information on the outer envelope is incorrect.

For voters living in Canada

Kits are mailed using Canada Post's general letter mail service. It may take several days for you to receive your kit, depending on your location.

Plan ahead to ensure there is enough time for your ballot to reach you and for it to return to Elections Canada by election day. Check your kit for information on the return address for your ballot and for specifics on the election-day deadline.

For Canadian voters living abroad

Ballots may take longer to arrive depending on the postal system in the country where you are located.

Plan ahead to ensure there is enough time for your ballot to reach you and for you to return it to Elections Canada in Ottawa by election day, 6:00 p.m., Eastern time.

By law, we cannot accept late application forms or count late ballots.

How can I check the status of my application?

Electors who applied to vote by mail from within their home riding:

Electors who applied to vote by mail from outside of their home riding, or from abroad:

  • To check the status of your application, please call: 1-800-463-6868.

It has been 72 hours. I checked the status of my online application, but there is no update. What can I do?

If you applied to vote by mail and your status has not been updated after 72 business hours, please call Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868 for additional information on your vote-by-mail application.   

How do I vote using my voting kit?

When you vote by mail, you will receive a voting kit containing a special ballot.

Special ballots don't have a list of candidates to choose from. Instead, there is a blank space for you to write the name of the candidate you're voting for. The final list of candidates will be available after nominations close, three weeks before election day.

Follow the instructions in your kit and mail your ballot back to Elections Canada as soon as possible. Remember: Your ballot must arrive at Elections Canada by the deadline indicated on your voting kit.

See detailed information about voting by special ballot (link opens in a new window).

How do I return my completed special ballot?

Your voting kit includes a postage-paid return envelope. Simply drop the envelope containing your completed kit into any mailbox or bring it to a Canada Post retail postal outlet to be returned to Elections Canada. There is no cost; you do not need to add a stamp.

It may take several days for your mailed ballot be delivered. Please refer to Canada Post's delivery standard calculator (link opens in a new window) to ensure there is enough time for your ballot to reach Elections Canada by the deadline indicated in your kit.

If you prefer, you can use an expedited parcel service, at your own cost. 

You can also deliver your completed special ballot, in person, to your local Elections Canada office, but remember, your ballot must arrive at the address specified in your voting kit by election day. If the address in your kit is not the address of your local Elections Canada office, consider the time it will take for your ballot to get from your local office to its final destination.

Can I track my ballot?

If you use the postage-paid envelope included in your kit, you will not have the option for end-to-end tracking of your ballot, but you can check to see if Elections Canada received your completed ballot.

To do so:

  • If you applied online to vote from within your electoral district, you can check the status of your ballot here, using the Registration Request Reference Number displayed on your screen after you submitted your request. Simply enter your Registration Request Reference Number and last name.
  • If you applied in any other way, you can check the status of your application or returned ballot by contacting 1-800-463-6868.

If you prefer, at your own cost, you can use an expedited parcel service that provides an end-to-end tracking option.

Can I request a replacement voting kit?

You may be eligible for a replacement kit, if you:

  • made an error marking your ballot,
  • received a damaged or incomplete voting kit, or
  • received a voting kit with incorrect information.

If you need a replacement kit, don't wait. Contact Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868 before 6:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before election day.

What safeguards are in place to make voting by mail secure?

Canada's federal vote-by-mail system includes several security features. Election Canada uses paper ballots, which are counted by hand and, if required, re-examined and audited. Each returned ballot is kept sealed until mandatory checks are completed. Learn more about these and other safeguards (link opens in a new window).

How do I know that Elections Canada received my completed ballot?

Elections Canada will not proactively contact you to confirm that we received your ballot, but there are ways you can check.

To do so:

  • If you applied online to vote from within your electoral district, you can check the status of your ballot here, using the Registration Request Reference Number displayed on your screen after you submitted your request. Simply enter your Registration Request Reference Number and last name.
  • If you applied in any other way, you can check the status of your application or returned ballot by contacting 1-800-463-6868.

Remember that your ballot may be in the mail system for several days. Elections Canada can only confirm the status of your ballot once it has arrived and been processed.

Back to top

Move date/By-election residency requirements

Why do you ask when I moved to my new address?

Your move date may affect your eligibility to vote in a by-election. To be allowed to vote in a riding's by-election, you must live in that electoral district at the beginning of the revision period and still be living in that riding on election day. This usually means that you have been living at your current address for at least 33 days before election day. If you are unsure about whether you meet these requirements, please contact the returning officer in your electoral district. They will tell you whether you are allowed to vote in the by-election. During an election, You can use the Voter Information Service (link opens in a new window) to get contact information for your returning officer.

Remember: Under elections law, it is illegal to vote if you do not meet the requirements.

Back to top

Identification Document Upload

My documents are too large to upload. How do I reduce the file size?

PDF format:

Recreate the PDF using the "lowest file size" option available. If you have images, save them with a resolution of 96 DPI (dots per inch). Remove all unnecessary images. You may find file size and image options under the advanced settings section of the software you are using.

JPG format:

Scan your document at a lower resolution (96 DPI). Try removing all empty space around the image. Shrink the image. Reduce the JPG image quality.

TIFF and PNG format:

Scan your document at a lower resolution (96 DPI). Shrink or crop the image to remove any empty space around it. Save the file in JPG format instead.

Back to top

List of accepted identification documents

What document can I upload?


1) Upload one of these pieces of ID
  • your driver's licence
  • your provincial or territorial ID card
  • any other government card with your name, photo and current address

OR

2) Upload two pieces of ID
At least one must have your current address
  • health card
  • Canadian passport
  • birth certificate
  • certificate of Canadian citizenship
  • Canadian citizenship card
  • Indian status card or letter of confirmation of residence
  • band membership card
  • Métis card
  • card issued by an Inuit local authority
  • old age security card
  • hospital card
  • medical clinic card
  • student identity card
  • library card
  • liquor identity card
  • parolee card
  • firearms licence
  • licence or card issued for fishing, trapping or hunting

  • utility bill (e.g. electricity; water; telecommunications services including telephone, cable or satellite)
  • bank statement
  • credit union statement
  • credit card statement
  • employee card
  • government statement of benefits
  • government cheque or cheque stub
  • letter from a public curator, public guardian or public trustee
  • pension plan statement
  • residential lease or sub-lease
  • mortgage contract or statement
  • income tax assessment
  • property tax assessment or evaluation
  • vehicle ownership
  • insurance certificate, policy or statement

Back to top

Additional Information

Need more information?

You can find general information on online registration and registration on the Elections Canada main website (link opens in a new window).

Back to top